Four years later...
For the past 4 years, Michelle (see video below) has been meeting with a group of writers at a local coffee shop. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lDU8MDafI8&w=560&h=315]
"I like the people, the high energy. People in this group are easy-going and great. In the - 'nonjudgmental' - great." - Michelle Dunford, Write Me, I'm Yours co-founder
The group originally connected as part of Michelle's work with Starfire, where they did a writing project together. The project was to engage writers across the city by setting out journals at local coffee shops and inviting people to contribute. They called the project "Write Me, I'm Yours," which is now also the name of their monthly writing group.
"I'm always the first one there. Everyone has their own unique poetry style. I get excited and nervous when I have to read because some of the stuff I write about can be dark." -Michelle
A few things I love about this story.
1) They stayed in touch after their project was through. Working on something cool and interesting together gave this group of writers the gift of lasting ties to one another. That's why we spend a lot of our time doing projects just like Michelle's in our work as community builders, it creates bonds that span time.
2) The effort is completely community-based and driven by the writers themselves. Outside of Starfire's structure and support, without morphing into a "special needs" writing circle solely for Michelle and other people with disabilities, the group of writers made a commitment - to stay in each other's lives year after year, while Starfire stood on the sidelines admiring.
"Michelle is the glue that keeps the group together. Michelle is the core and things don't feel right when she's not there. There is no difference in how we conduct the circle. We don't censor or adjust the agenda. She's an integral part of the group." -Eva Lewandowski, Write Me, I'm Yours co-founder
3) They have some pretty amazing work coming out of their writing circle. Here's one poem they worked on together with Cincinnati's Poet Laureate Pauletta Hansel.
"As far as I'm concerned, although I do blog and write articles, I don't consider myself a writer. However, the writing circle has allowed me to tap into my creativity. But best of all, it's provided me with a close circle of friends that wouldn't have happened had this circle not existed." - Eva
Stories like this are at the top of our list - as beautiful examples of people coming together over shared passion, and making the most impressive commitment to one another: to stay.
p.s. A look back at 2014, when the "Write Me, I'm Yours" project was first led by Michelle!
This is part TWO of our Story Series, “Staying.” Subscribe and get this series in your inbox every week!